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This book situates witchcraft drama within its cultural and intellectual context, highlighting the centrality of scepticism and belief in witchcraft to the genre. It is argued that these categories are most fruitfully understood not as static and mutually exclusive positions within the debate around witchcraft, but as rhetorical tools used within it. In drama, too, scepticism and belief are vital issues. The psychology of the witch character is characterised by a combination of impious scepticism towards God and credulous belief in the tricks of the witch’s master, the devil. Plays which present plausible depictions of witches typically use scepticism as a support: the witch’s power is subject to important limitations which make it easier to believe. Plays that take witchcraft less seriously present witches with unrestrained power, an excess of belief which ultimately induces scepticism. But scepticism towards witchcraft can become a veneer of rationality concealing other beliefs that pass without sceptical examination. The theatrical representation of witchcraft powerfully demonstrates its uncertain status as a historical and intellectual phenomenon; belief and scepticism in witchcraft drama are always found together, in creative tension with one another.

Eric Pudney

date, and these witches are strikingly unlike the previous depictions of classically inspired hags. The witches in the Henry VI plays are not presented as fictional, since they represent historical people who were widely believed, or at least reputed, to have been witches with genuine magical power. At around the same time, Dr Faustus presents the first – and arguably also the last – depiction in English drama of a witch as a tragic protagonist (also, not coincidentally, the first and last male witch). Dr Faustus explores the psychology of its witch in detail and

in Scepticism and belief in English witchcraft drama, 1538–1681
Open Access (free)
Invisibility and erasure in The Two Merry Milkmaids
Chloe Porter

characters. In Christopher Marlowe’s Dr Faustus , meanwhile, spectators are encouraged to accept that Faustus has passed out of visibility when Mephistopheles ‘charms’ him so that he ‘may be invisible’. 3 Similarly, in The Two Merry Milkmaids , the anonymous comedy that is my central example in this chapter, a succession of characters are shown passing in and out of

in Making and unmaking in early modern English drama

Women Art Workers constitutes the first comprehensive history of the network of women who worked at the heart of the English Arts and Crafts movement from the 1870s to the 1930s. Challenging the long-standing assumption that the Arts and Crafts simply revolved around celebrated male designers like William Morris, this book instead offers a new social and cultural account of the movement, which simultaneously reveals the breadth of the imprint of women art workers upon the making of modern society. Thomas provides unprecedented insight into how women – working in fields such as woodwork, textiles, sculpture, painting, and metalwork – navigated new authoritative roles as ‘art workers’ by asserting expertise across a range of interconnected cultures so often considered in isolation: from the artistic to the professional, intellectual, entrepreneurial, and domestic. Through examination of newly discovered institutional archives and private papers, and a wide range of unstudied advertisements, letters, manuals, photographs, and calling cards, Women Art Workers elucidates the critical importance of the spaces around which women conceptualised alternative creative and professional lifestyles: guild halls, exhibitions, homes, studios, workshops, and the cityscape. Shattering the traditional periodisation of the movement as ‘Victorian’, this research reveals that the early twentieth century was a critical juncture at which women art workers became ever more confident in promoting their own vision of the Arts and Crafts. Shaped by their precarious gendered positions, they opened up the movement to a wider range of social backgrounds and interests, and redirected the movement’s radical potential into contemporary women-centred causes.

The world of Lucian in Thomas Heywood’s stage poetry
Camilla Temple

. But Marlowe is also concerned with the broader theology that Lucian evoked in the Dialogues of the Dead . This is epitomised in the famous line about Helen from Dr Faustus : Was this the face that launched a thousand ships, And burnt the topless Towers of Ilium? 4 I will explore the Lucianic background to these lines later in the chapter but what is significant for now is that we find these same two ‘contours’ of divine representation and theological reflection in the Lucianism of another Renaissance dramatist, Thomas Heywood. Lucian’s foolish

in Thomas Heywood and the classical tradition
Open Access (free)
Eric Pudney

4 The Witch of Edmonton Thomas Dekker, John Ford, and William Rowley’s The Witch of Edmonton (1621) departs from the conventions established in previous witchcraft drama in relation to the depiction of scepticism. Macbeth and Dr Faustus depicted the scepticism and credulity of witches, using the discourse of demonology to illustrate the psychology of witch and devil’s servant – a psychology which is characterised by both inappropriate and excessive credulity (towards the devil) and inappropriate and excessive scepticism (towards God). While the delusions of the

in Scepticism and belief in English witchcraft drama, 1538–1681
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Andrew Teverson

model of tragic action but to undercut it by revealing the extent to which his own protagonists fall short of the heroic ideal established in depictions of men such as Caesar and Hamlet. Conventionally, the hero of tragedy is ennobled by his suffering, and purified by his death. In Rushdie’s tragedy of clowns, by contrast, as in Marlowe’s buffoon-tragedy Dr Faustus , the fiction takes its power, ultimately, from a refusal, rather than a fulfilment, of tragical expectations. 4 ‘[I]t seemed to me that what you had in Pakistan was a tragedy being enacted by people who

in Salman Rushdie
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George Peele’s David and Bethsabe
Annaliese Connolly

figure, Dr Faustus. The different uses of the prologue in these plays point to some of the adjustments made by dramatists during the intervening period between God’s Promises and David and Bethsabe as plays gradually modify the use of the prologue and its moralising function. The plays of Bale and Peele also demonstrate the ways in which the story of King David was appropriated and retold to serve different religious and theatrical agendas during the sixteenth century. The facets of his life which make him an exemplar of sin and repentance ensure his currency

in The genres of Renaissance tragedy
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The mingled yarn of Elizabethan tragedy
Jonathan Bate

passions’ on the one hand, and dramatic structure on the other. The height of the hero’s vertiginous fall is measured by the wise and good man’s steadfast walk along the flat, straight road. The weft of tragedy is Aristotle’s change from high estate to low: conscience catches up with Dr Faustus, Queen Tamora’s cruelty in Titus Andronicus proves self-devouring (literally), revenge for Hieronimo

in Doing Kyd
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Shakespeare and the supernatural
Victoria Bladen
Yan Brailowsky

play [ Dr Faustus ], in somewhat the same fashion as spectators flock to the circus wondering if the high-wire artist will fall and be killed’. 42 Shakespeare's use of the supernatural in his plays attests to its cultural and theological prevalence in early modern society, not unlike the playwright's equally liberal use of pagan, mythological or folkloric traditions. It may have been as difficult for Shakespeare to resist the supernatural as it was for Renaissance humanists to

in Shakespeare and the supernatural